Following its first large purchase of U.S. corn in more than four years in 2010, China may need to import as much as nine million tonnes of corn this year, an official with the U.S. Grains Council said on Feb. 3.
“Estimates given to us were that China is short 10 million to 15 million tonnes (394 million to 591 million bushels) in stocks and will need to purchase corn this year,” USGC chairman Terry Vinduska said in a statement.
“We learned the government normally keeps stocks at 30 per cent but they are currently a little over five per cent, which may lead to imports of three million to nine million tons (118 million to 354 million bushels),” Vinduska said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected that China will import one million tonnes of corn in the 2010-11 marketing year ending Aug. 31, but many private forecasts are considerably higher.
China’s 2009 corn harvest was reduced by a drought, and the country’s demand for animal feed has been booming.
While in China last week, officials from the Grains Council and the National Corn Growers Association met with analysts and industry experts.
The group also discussed China’s antidumping investigation against imports of U.S. distillers dried grains (DDGS).
“We found that importers would like to more than double the three million tons of U.S. DDGs (that) China imported last year, eventually reaching 10 million tons in annual imports,” Vinduska said.
“However,” he said, “they recognize the tremendous growth shown in 2010 may need to slow down to allow internal markets to adjust. One way to slow the growth was to launch the anti-dumping case.”